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UPS confirms malware breach at 51 stores

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — UPS Stores, a subsidiary of United Parcel Service, said that a security breach may have led to the theft of customer credit and debit data at 51 UPS stores in the United States.

In a statement, the company said that customers who had used their debit or credit cards at affected locations (which are listed on the UPS site) from Jan. 20 to Aug. 11 may have been exposed to the malware. However, the company noted, exposure began after March 26 in most cases.

The malware was eliminated as of Aug. 11, UPS said.

“I understand this type of incident can be disruptive and cause frustration. I apologize for any anxiety this may have caused our customers. At The UPS Store, the trust of our customers is of utmost importance,” stated Tim Davis, president of The UPS Store, in a statement.

David said that as soon as the company became aware of the potential malware intrusion, it deployed extensive resources to quickly address and eliminate the problem.

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Nielsen study: Retailers ramp up back-to-school ad spend

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — A new Nielsen survey found that nearly 20% of consumers have already started their back-to-school shopping, and 75% plan to start within the next few weeks.

More parents are starting their shopping earlier than in the past, as 18% of survey respondents had already started their back to school shopping as compared to 7% at the same time last year. On the flip side, 15% are choosing to wait longer, while 50% do not plan to do any back to school shopping this year.

No surprise, the biggest summer advertising push typically comes from retailers, such as Target, J.C. Penney and Office Depot, which made up 95% of last year’s back-to-school advertising. In a survey to BTS advertisers, Nielsen found that 42% of respondents plan to spend as much as they did in 2013; 18% will spend less and 26% will spend more.

The survey also found that shoppers are far more likely to use social media to discuss their purchases than they were last year. 28% said they would use Facebook versus 9% in 2013, 16% would use Google + versus 4% last year and 15% would use Twitter versus 3% last year.

“There is a strong relationship between advertising and consumer behavior, particularly when it concerns back-to-school shopping,” said James Russo senior VP, Global Consumer Insights, Nielsen. “Advertisers have been broadcasting back to school content earlier and consumers are responding in kind. Advertisements are extremely influential, so it is salient for retailers and manufacturers to be strategic to ensure back to school marketing success.”

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Stage Stores sees profits rise in Q2

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Houston — Stage Stores, Inc. reported net income of $11.2 million for the second quarter, compared with $9.6 million last year.

Total sales were $377 million. Same-store sales decreased 4.2%.

“We found the second quarter to be challenging, but we were encouraged that our sales trend improved towards the end of the quarter,” said Michael Glazer, CEO. “We expect improved second half results given our sales driving initiatives.”

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